Leamington beat Attock to claim top-flight berth

Leamington celebrate their promotion. Picture submitted
Leamington celebrate their promotion. Picture submitted

There were wild celebrations at Attock on Saturday as Leamington secured back-to-back promotions to join neighbours Wardens in the Birmingham League’s top flight.

Leamington travelled to Birmingham knowing if they won and champions Walsall beat Old Hill then second place would be theirs.

Spa elected to bowl first in a match reduced to 43 overs aside due to overnight rain and it was the in-form Grant Thornton who got the ball rolling with two early wickets to reduce the hosts to 29 for two.

Mark Ashcroft (1-29) then picked up a wicket as the score slid to 49 for three but a 73-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Junaid Khan (23) and Mohammed Qamar Khan (88) helped the home side on their way to a competitive total.

Jamie Marsh (2-38) made the important breakthrough before Thornton (5-35) returned to mop up the tail and record another five-wicket haul in what has been his best season for the club.

Thornton’s scalps included Khan who played a near-faultless knock in his side’s 186 for nine.

In reply, Leamington raced to their victory target thanks to a rapid opening partnership of 63 between Zack Fagg and Shahbaz Alam (29).

Despite Jamie Marsh (10) falling cheaply, Tom Lewis (40) maintained the momentum and even when Fagg (60 off 48 balls) was bowled after another trademark aggressive innings in, it was left to Lee Hopkins (27 not out) and Jonathan Wigley (13 not out) to secure the victory.

Once the game finished, there was a nervous wait to find out the result from Old Hill but when Walsall’s victory was confirmed,the celebrations could truly begin.

Leamington 2nds rounded off their season with an impressive seven-wicket victory over Attock to finish the season in second position behind Moseley.

A depleted Leamington attack bowled with control to restrict Attock to 184 all out, with Matthew Davison marking his return to bowling action with three for 25.

Lee Credgington picked up two for 27, while Dave Hawkes’ nagging, persistent line and length earned him figures of 10-1-29-1.

Oliver Currill and Joe Somra were tasked with getting the chase of to a good start and succeeded in building a solid opening partnership.

A mix-up resulted in Somra being run out for 31 which brought Kuran Patra to the crease.

Both batsmen showed good judgement and patience before the runs started to flow and it looked as though Leamington would canter to victory for the loss of just one wicket.

However, first Patra (44) and then Hawkes were dismissed in quick succession and it was left to Billy Hallett to accompany Currill (81 not out) over the winning line in the 45th over.